Develop just one healthy habit this year–and stick to it

If you’re going to make just one resolution to put bounce back into your step, make it an easy one. People often don’t make changes because they think it’s too hard or it won’t really make a difference. From a homeopath’s perspective, beauty and energy come from the inside, so building good habits are a basic necessity—and they really don’t have to be difficult. For example, if you eat an apple a day, EVERY day, you are doing something incredibly good for your body. Here’s why:

Apples keep you youthful

Anti-oxidants are a buzz word in the natural health field because they prevent free radical damage to cells, the kind of damage that leads to early aging and the worst kinds of disease, like cancer and heart disease. For the highest anti-oxidant activity, choose the most colourful type, whether it’s yellow, green or red. Apples are also packed with nutritional value—and not just vitamins and minerals either, but enzymes! Enzymes are thought to be the key to maintaining youth—and raw apples are an excellent source. More about enzymes another day…

Fibre protects against disease

Besides the anti-oxidant value, apples contain a particularly healthy type of fibre called pectin. Pectin helps keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check. It’s also a preventative for colon cancer. Another bonus of course it that the fibre helps keep you regular, but pectin is unique in that it also binds water when your stools are loose. Grated apple is a great home remedy for mild diarrhea–or constipation, and it’s particularly good for young children because it’s yummy, totally safe and usually easy to digest.

You may think apples are high in sugar, but studies show that the pectin in apples helps with both the prevention and treatment of diabetes too. An added benefit is that the fibre also binds heavy metals such as lead and mercury, so next time you have that double order of tuna sushi—or tuna salad—have an apple too.

Whiten your teeth

Who doesn’t want a winning smile? The mild acidity of apples—even sweet ones—clean and whiten the teeth. I drink a lot of tea, so eating an apple helps prevent staining and I love how clean my teeth feel afterwards.

Choose pesticide free or organic

Apples need to be organic if you want the full benefit. Conventional apples sprayed with pesticides are so high in residues, they are first on the list of the dirty dozen—foods you should only eat organic because of high toxicity of pesticide residues. If you think you can get away with peeling the apples, think again: a lot of the benefits of apples are in—or just under—the skin.

Local varieties are better

I encourage everyone to choose local varieties. Not only are you supporting farmers in your neighbourhood, you’re reducing your personal impact on the environment. In Vancouver, local varieties are available throughout the winter and really only become hard to find in the summer, when other delicious fruits, like peaches, cherries and berries are available anyway.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Of course, everyone knows that apples are good for you. And incorporating this one is so easy—even if you’re a busy student, mom, or an executive always on the run. We often think that small changes don’t make a difference, but if you do it every day—make it a habit—the benefit multiplies. Now instead of reaching for that snack bar, eat an apple—and feel great!